MANILA – Former President and incumbent Manila mayor Joseph Ejercito “Erap” Estrada on Monday endorsed the presidential bid of Senator Grace Poe, daughter of his best friend the late Fernando Poe Jr.
Estrada made his announcement during his local party’s proclamation rally attended by an estimated 20,000 orange-clad supporters at the Liwasang Bonifacio.
“Mga kasama, mga kaibigan palakpakan po natin ang aking inaanak at susunod na pangulo ng Pilipinas, walang iba kundi si Grace Poe,” Estrada said in introducing Poe to the cheering supporters.
In his endorsement speech, Estrada described Poe as a woman with talent and heart, a daughter of his best friend, a mother, a wife and a Filipina.
“Her father never left me. How can I leave her? A daughter of king and queen of the Philippine movie, you know already? Who is the king? Fernando Poe Jr. and who is the queen? Susan Roces,” he told the crowd.
Before endorsing Poe, two other presidential candidates Vice President Jejomar Binay and Davao City Rodrigo Duterte reportedly approached Estrada with the hopes of getting the support of the still popular former President.
In her response speech, Poe thanked her ‘godfather’ Estrada for endorsing her candidacy.
“Ninong maraming salamat po sa inyong pagendorso sa akin. Nakakataba po talaga ng puso. Alam ko ito ay isang desisyon na pinagisipan ninyong mabuti. Alam kong mahal ninyo ang aking ama pero alam ko na ang mga decision na ganito ay para rin sa bayan,” Poe replied.
Poe promised that she will not fail her godfather, saying “it would be a great honor to have a support from someone who loved so much by the people and who loved our countrymen.”
“Si Erap ang isang pinuno na kung saan kinakatawan ang ating ordinaryong mamayan. Si erap ay nakakaramdam, nakikiisa sa inyo, hindi manhid, naiintindihan kayo, yan din an gaming isulong: isang gobyerno na nakakaramdam sa inyo mga sulirinanin, na magbibigay ng isang agarang solution para sa inyo,” Poe said.
Poe promised to the people of Manila that she will push for free lunch in all public schools and free tuition fee in the government universities and colleges.
“Muli sa aking minahal na ninong, maraming salamat sa inyong pagpili sa akin. Alam ko hindi nagging madali at dasal ko na hindi ko kayo papahiyain, na gagawin ko ang lahat para naman maitaas ang ala-alala ng aking ama at matulungan ang masang Filipino,” Poe said.
Estrada also endorsed the candidacy of vice presidential candidate Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. and PGP senatorial bets Manila vice mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso, Rep. Neri Colmenares, Rep. Sherwin Gatchalian, Richard Gordon and Juan Miguel Zubiri.
The Manila mayor also endorsed senatorial aspirants Sen. Serge Osmena, Francis Tolentino, Joel Villanueva, Cong. Martin Romualdez, Getulio Napenas, Manny Pacquiao and Panfilo ‘Ping’ Lacson.
He was joined by her vice mayoralty running mate former 4th district councilor Dra. Maria Sheila ‘Honey’ Lacuna-Pangan and his candidates for congressmen, councilors from Manila’s six districts.
Estrada’s wife former senator Loi Estrada and incumbent Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito were also present in the proclamation rally that marked the start of the campaign for local candidates for the May 9 elections.